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as of yesterday, america is no longer a nation of states, but rather,  a nation hedge fund.

or more precisely, the world’s single largest real estate company, with an initial portfolio of US$700 billion.

while tree hugging hippies are busy throwing rotten eggs ( most probably organic) at wall street, condemning the “bail out” of the very fat cats that caused this mess,….

and while rightwing neocon-nazis throw tree hugging hippies at egg on their face wall street denouncing the “nationalisation” of the country,….

the powers that be have managed to create something that would never ever have otherwise been possible.

america is now the proud owner of its very own real estate sovereign wealthy fund.

the worlds largest.

and its actually no different from other SWF’s out there,…

while the middle east’s SWF’s capitalised on cheap slave(ish) labour and no infrastructure investment, thereby keeping their oil production costs low relative to current market prices,….

and while singapore capitalised on the insanely long slave(ish) working hours of their citizens,……

america has managed to capitalise on its most abundant resource:

land,… in one of the largest and safest economies in the world.

sure,… if you’re a trader, or if your retirement fund just took a massive hit then you would be right to argue that point,….

but, as sordid and as historic as this little episode might be in america’s economic history, there is still nowhere else on earth people would rather put their money,… which explains why everyone and their grandmothers is piling into US treasuries and why the dollar is getting stronger at what would seem to be the shakiest period since the great depression of ’29.

the government now, effectively owns US$700 billion of real estate. how much of the country that is i cant say, but i’m betting that is a bit more than a couple of mouldy retirement condos in florida.

the point to remember is that while wall street is in a rush to dump these “toxic” mortgage backed securities, and while foreclosures may be at a record high,…. a large majority of homeowners are still paying their bills and have yet to default.

so the government is actually getting a pretty good deal. they’re getting a whole boat load of property in the form of securities which is essentially the same thing, and they have the ability to renegotiate the terms. which means that dude A who might be about to lose his house, will probably get his mortgage term extended, thereby making it easier for him to not default.

when things look good for dude A, things will look even better for the government’s portfolio.

should they have bailed out wall street?

shouldnt they have helped out main street instead?

its not for me to argue, and its kind of pointless right now.

besides, wall street couldnt have done what it did without the willingness of main street, but thats an argument of another time.

this is what i find interesting, and if i havent bored you to death already,…

heres something that no one is talking about right now:

had everything gone according to plan, this subprime thing wouldnt have happened.

had everything in the rearview mirror happened infront of us,…. this whole subprime thing wouldnt have happened.

but something changed.

had everything remained more or less constant, predatory lending aside, the homeowners would have been able to meet their mortgage payments.

one basic fundamental component to the worlds whole economy, changed which i believe sparked this whole thing.

oil.

even the most moronic person who cant keep track of his dollars and cents, will have an idea of how much he can pay a month. no matter how bad with money you are, you have an idea of a) how much your rent is and b) how much extra if any you have left over.

and when it comes to the point that buying is cheaper than renting, even at the new rate in a few years time, then you know buying will always make more sense.

so they did.

but while america was busy enjoying her new plumbing, the whole world decided to have a series of panic attacks, one of which was and still is over india and china getting it on too often and producing too many people.

what alot of people didnt add into their calculation was the possible volatility of gas prices.

and when gas prices go up, you have a choice to make:

skip a mortgage payment so you can pay for gas and go to work so you can get paid and then pay your mortgage?

or pay your mortgage, not have enough gas to go to work and maybe get fired, in which case you cant pay your mortgage and will get kicked out?

its a nobrainer.

so payments got late, and later and later as the gas price went higher and higher, until you get to where we are today, with banks having over invested while thinking they were geniusseses. and when it all went blrrrrp they looked at their guys and ask ” how come we didnt see this? arent we meant to be the smartest guys on the street?”

” wait, if we’re the smartest and we fuckered up, then what about those guys? or them? or them?”

hence your crisis of confidence.

anyway, the point of this is:

assuming the government knows that gas is one of the reasons they got into this mess.

then surely whoever the next president will be, their administration will be just as oil-centric as this one.

actually, with the government now holding US$700 bill that could double over time, if they could just keep the oil prices down,….

i would argue that whoever gets in come november, will make george bush look like a tree hugging hippie.

you see, if oil has now become even more important as a result of this rescue package:

then there is no way in hell obama will pull troops out of iraq at even the slightest risk of sectarian fighting which would stop iraq’s 2 million barrels a day flowing out.

in addition, many many more troops will head to afghanistan to secure it once and for all as the final piece in the big central asian pipeline.

offshore drilling? done and doner.

alasakan reserve drilling? certainly done.

hmmm,…

alaska,….

palin,….

conspiracy theorey buffs!

on your marks,….

get set,…

GO!

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the scenario to come:

warplanes, most likely of israeli origin, swoop down and take out iran’s “peaceful” nuclear reactors.

pilots go “shalom!” and break out the creamcheese bagels for their flight home.

and then?

the question on everyone’s mind is not whether or not a strike will occur, but rather “when” and “what the fuck will the iranians do?”

according to one iranian commander: ” …..our finger is always on the trigger and we have hundreds and even thousands of missiles ready to be fired against predetermined targets,” Gen. Hossein Salami, commander of the Revolutionary Guard ground forces. [Link]

apparently their fingers are also busy with photoshop trying to hide missiles that dont go off [Link}

the photoshoped:

the original:

yes they suck at photoshop as much as they suck at being the biggest automobile producer in the middle east.

see,… you didnt know they made cars did you?

why bother photoshopping?

it doesnt make sense.

but then again not much coming out of tehran ever does make that much sense,… take the interview on fareed zakaria’s gps show on cnn with the iranian foreign minister,… dude said:

“before we discuss the halting of uranium enrichment, we must discuss the agenda for the meeting on the discussion of the discussion of the halting of any uranium enrichment discussion.”

wow….

just,… wow….

no wonder he’s in charge of every government’s bullshit factory,… he just does it so well.

but i digress,…

so what could iran do in the event of a strike?

not much actually, and here’s why:

1- lob firecrackers at israel:

as if israel is not prepared,… chances are there are 10 times more patriot batteries than iranian missiles. add to that the fact that the us military in the gulf will the first to hear about any launch, i reckon the israelis will have time to switch on the patriots, put the kettle on, make a kosher bacon sandwhich, hit record on the vcr for what ever israeli soap that the iranians will be rudely interupting, and head down to the bunker.

the iranians know this,… and it would be very embarassing indeed if their loyal american flag burners through out the arab/muslim world tuned in to watch the great destruction of tel aviv only to be greeted with the scene of israelis sitting in lawn chairs enjoying a “patriot n’ scud misslie” light show.

i doubt the iranians would risk this possible loss of face for a couple of measly reactors they could rebuild.

this is why we didnt hear much about the strike on the syrian facility last september?

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2- block the strait of hormuz:

incase you dont know what it is, its that narrow bit of sea through which 30-40% of the world’s oil passes.

the most likely result of this would be to send oil prices sky high.

“we will scare the west into submission by making a trip to the supermarket more expensive than a high class hooker on new years eve!” they reckon.

riiiiight,….

iran already has almost no one in their corner. doing this will piss off everyone,…

more importantly they will piss off the people that matter:

joe / gunther / pierre / sven blow suburbia, mr newly middle class chan and his good friend mr surresh of new yuppie bombay, as well as many others around the world.

it has already gotten to the point that the average working man now realises that “something must be done to secure more oil” atleast, until an alternative is found. if a nation’s truck drivers and street cleaners are saying this because they are struggling to put food on their table guess how easy it will be for their governments to launch as many “necessary strikes” as possible.

pushing oil to crazy prices could actually be tehran’s downfall.

and lets not forget the iranians,… they’ve seen whats going on in the gulf, so how long before they start asking when they will see the benefits of high oil prices instead of record inflation and having their gasoline rationed cos iran cant produce enough for its own use.

ultimately, war is about who has more money and who has more gas. iran has some money, but no gas. tanks dont run on iranian rials.

blocking hormuz will force everyone to rally against them, even diehard anti-israeli/american jihadis will start to wonder if this is all worth US$10 a liter orange juice, so again not likely.

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3- a retaliation strike against us military installations in their neighbours:

hitting kuwait, bahrain, iraq, afghanistan, qatar or even dubai will simply confirm america’s assertion that iran is nuts.

iran hates it when america is right, so just to piss america off it probably wont happen.

to do so would be to become the world’s new north korea,… and from recent events, even north korea doesnt want to be the world’s north korea any more.

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so what could happen?

i dont know.

its not like they can do a syria and deny that there was a strike, nor can they say that it was only a military warehouse.

theres actually not much they could do.

unless they happen to have an army of big purple people eaters,…. then we’re all screwed.

.

one thing is certain tho,…

i get the feeling that there is a rift of some sort between the generals and the supreme council.

why?

well the skirmishes that go unreported for one.

the british sailor hostages for another.

its as if the military is saying ” come on if you think you’re hard enough! (cos we want you to bomb tehran and kick those nutcases out)”

the generals arent stupid, and i think 30 years of ayatollah mismanagement is finally starting to piss them off.

.

as usual i could be wrong, so breakout your gasmasks just in case cos it could still go juuuuuust a little bit wonky.

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the global market numbers from ONLY today, monday the 21st january.

more from CNN:

“London’s FTSE 100 Index down 5.5 percent at 5,578.20;

CAC-40 in Paris down 6.8 percent to 4,744.15;

Frankfurt’s DAX dropping 7.2 percent to 6,790.19.

In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed on 13,325.954 points, a slide of 3.9 percent and its biggest dip in two years.

Shanghai’s Composite index fell 5.1 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index suffered its largest percentage drop since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 when it fell 5.5 percent to 23,818.86 points.

India’s Sensex stock index fell nearly 1,353 points or 11 percent — its second biggest percentage drop ever — to 17,605.35 points before recovering to 7.4 percent.

The Toronto Stock Exchange opened more than four percent down, falling by 543.13 points to 12,193.13 and taking around US $68 billion off the market’s value. A drop of 6.6 percent last week wiped out gains made by the market last year.

Mexico tumbled by 4.77 percent on opening

Argentina and Brazil fell by 4.64 percent and 6 percent respectively.

The Dow Jones industrial average, which was not trading Monday, finished Friday 0.5 percent down at 12,099.30.

It has now lost more than 8 percent of its value since the year began.”

me thinks it will be time for the skunk to go shopping overseas soon >:D

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why should you care?

if you get anything from your government, like a salary, or a pension,…

or if youre insured for like health, life, home insurance, car insurance etc,….

then the market is where your money is.

its where your insurance company keeps your cash, its where your government’s fund for future generations keeps its cash, its where your company’s investment division invests your pension, and more importantly, your company’s investment department is the most important bit of the company that you work for, so if theyre not having a good time, chances are that their crap time will trickle down to you sooner or later.

the market is even where your bank is keeping your money. its not sitting in cash in a little vault in the nbk basement,…. its already virtual, and its virtually not there, but in the market “trying” to make a return so that they can pay you the interest they owe you.

doesnt seem like a bunch of silly numbers now does it ?

a couple of weeks ago burma’s monks decided that they had had enough.

it was time to don their shit kicking boots and start taking names.

burma is a nation that has been under a military dictatorship for god knows how long,…. 30 years? more?

the military keeps the nation locked down by paying their soldiers extremely well.

they might only make a few dollars a month, but thats already 10 times the average non-military wage. oh and the military have food and accommodation covered by the state. the rest dont.

what started off as a protest against the rise in fuel prices and basic foodstuffs on behalf of their people basically turned into a wholesale condemnation of the military junta that controls and runs the country.

they told the public to stay away as they protested by walking the streets on rangoon every day,…. and they did for the first few days.

but then everyone started joining them.

what is admirable is the fact that the monks had somehow managed to separate themselves and the temple from the state. there are not many religious institutions that can do that in the free world let alone a military dictatorship.

or perhaps they havent, but rather the general had pissed all over one of the monks top boys, hence the protest…. i dont know.

saddly once the government had had enough, they locked the monks up in their temples and they started to clamp down and cut off the publics access to the internet, where alot of the coverage was coming from. official government stats of nine dead contradicted reports from people on the street quoting much larger numbers.

as of today, some 1,000 have been rounded up for “questioning”, and i’m guessing the monks have been locked up in their temples.

now if you got this far and i havent bored you to death, well done cos heres where it gets interesting……

who cares about burma?

what the fuck do they have thats worth fighting for?

well i’m sure youve heard this saying before:

“an army only marches on its stomach”

so where’s the military getting all the dosh to pay their boys in green?

well burma apparently has huge reserves of minerals,…..

and natural gas!

and guess what,…..

yup, soldier boy’s getting paid!

so who’s doing the paying?

and how can you, the infuriated activist overseas help without jumping on a flight to rangoon?

well i propose that you follow in the footsteps of the monks,……. but be a bit more mischievous.

civil disobedience with a point.

well according to the Burma Campaign UK’s Dirty List :

is there a chevron office in your city? if so get a couple of friends together and buy yourself a dump truck full of manure (cow shit) and have it delivered to the front door,…. dont forget to tip the dump truck driver.

what about Total? you know, the french oil company that was probably paying saddam for the oil he would smuggle out past the useless and corrupt UN officials?

oh dont tell me that you thought france was against the invasion of iraq on “moral grounds” !

if there is an office in your town then go out and buy each of your activist group members this:

and then drink lots and lots of anything, alcoholic might be best as it serves to increase urine production.

target the Total workers in drive by pee shootings, or douse the CEO’s car in urine, or even the front door of their HQ.

^ever see that logo?

that logo belongs to the Mitsui corporation of japan. the japanese are one of the finest when it comes to working with dictatorial military regimes, they know how to kiss ass to get what they want. the japanese government is the main problem tho because they send aid out to the burmese ( oh how nice of them ) but they attach a condition that it has to be japanese companies that do the work.

its like governmental money laundering.

what to do with the japanese?

this is the cheapest suggestion i have,….. pop down to the fish market at the end of the day, scoop all the guts into a bucket, or several big big big buckets,….. label them something dramatic “burmese peoples rights” and empty them at the steps on the company or any japanese embassy in your region.

oh and before you do anything do remember to call the media,….

and to keep on doing it.

it wont stop the exploitation going on. lets not kid ourselves now.

but it will get people talking, in the company and outside.

which is what you want them to do.

you see, in this day and age, angry banners and loudspeakers dont say shit anymore.

oh,.. if anyone reading this happens to manage burmese funds, or the funds of any of the companies up there, or if you happen to be a a really really massive speculator with an endless credit line with your bank,….

and youre one of the really pissed off,…

never mind the pee in the water gun and the fish guts,…..

short (sell for my non-trader readers) total shares till she gets calls by her bankers, short mitsui into the ground, short chevron as far as you can,..

you’ll know as well as i do that you’ll be able to make a killing in the process, both ways.

that will definately get their attention and force them to do something.

its a good thing i dont have stupid amounts of money cos its actually not a bad idea ūüėõ

excerpts from jassem al saadoun, chairman of al shall economic institute:

“there is no such thing as kuwait after oil,….. in 2007 we will have been producing oil in kuwait for 60 years, but this will change in a decade or two.”

“we are neither preserving our oil nor finding solutions to generate a new economy”

“in 1930, half of the kuwaitis were travelling in order to make a living to india and north africa,…if we do not start now, we will go back to working and living in other places and kuwait will lose its ability to survive. Today the workforce in kuwait is not based on productivity”

the government here reckons they cant tell anyone what kuwaits oil reserves are, on the groundof national security. but rough estimates range from 48 billion to 100 billion barrels of oil.

sound like more than enough right? surely its not your problem but rather your grandkids’s grandkids’s problem?

uhhh, not quite.

lets be chicken little and say there are 48 billion barrels left. thats 48 billion barrels of oil that can feasibly be pumped without out costing too much of course. because if you go purely on the total volume, then canada kicks kuwaits ass with its oil sands which come in as the worlds second largest oil reserve. but its bloody expensive to extract, and has only recently become feasible since oil went about $50 a barrel.

thing is, proven reserves, probable reserves, and possible reserves have nothing to do with feasible reserves.

kuwait pumps out about 2 million barrels a day. officially its 1.7 million, but lets say for argument’s sake that we take into account a slight increas in production,…. and kuwait decides to never pump more than 2 million barrels, and demand to pump more never increases.

2 million a day x 30 days = 60 million barrels a month.

60 million x 12 months = 720 million barrels a year.

thats 0.72 billion barrels a year.

and if theres only 48 billion barrels left,… thats little over 50 years.

and thats assuming that kuwait doesnt pump more, and doesnt need to pump anymore, and that the kuwaiti population stays put at 3 million.

all of which we know isnt gonna happen.

the population alone is increasing by about 10% a year for the kuwaitis alone! with half the population under the age of 15,… all of whom will need jobs, somewhere to live, consume water and electricity, etc.

and what about the foreigners who will come to serve the increased kuwaiti population?

since population, local demand and global demand is compounding and not just staying stagnant since china and india dont give a shit if kuwait gets sucked dry, and since koc will more than likely increase production as time goes by just to meet local demand and finance their employees expensive drinking¬† and shopping trips to london……

taking all that into account, 50 years comes down to what,…. 25 years?

even if we assume theres 100 billion barrels left,…. that only means another 50 years.

does that not scare anyone else?

i’m hitting 31 this year, which means that with advances in modern medicine, i’ll more than likely see the day that kuwait runs dry. which means, for everyone below the age of 70 as of today, a kuwait with no oil is pretty much gonna be your problem and not that of 2 generations down the line.

the only feasible future i see for kuwait is one of two:

1) kuwait decides to attract foreign investment by never introducing taxes, thereby become another offshore safe haven and money laundering centre like the cayman islands and the seychelles.

but theyre already talking taxes, and with the governments love of short term solutions, taxes will be levied pretty soon, on kuwaitis and non-kuwaitis. so the idea of kuwait as a financial hub even as a safe haven? LMFAO! yeah right!

2) kuwait becomes a port for iraq. whether you like it or not, this is probably what kuwait after oil is gong to be. umm qasr port in iraq is their only access to global shipping, and in the past containerships used to be lined up in the gulf cos iraq didnt have the capacity to unload everything quickly. some people eventually resorted to unloading in kuwait and trucking the stuff up to iraq by road. this is what kuwait before major oil production used to be, so once¬†oils all gone this is what it’ll revert to.

Khorafi knows this, which is why he’s spearheading the boubyan port project.

and with a brand new world class port in kuwait, do you really think iraq will allow kuwait to have that kind of leverage agains the iraqi population?

and if¬†the next time around iraqi soldiers march across the border, when kuwait is pretty much dry, and with the US sitting in baghdad and possibly terhan by then,…. what are the chances of another desert storm? absolutely nil!

you see, i’ve been setting up somewhere else to go when it all runs out ( everybody sing: malaysia truelly asiaaaaaaa ūüėõ ), and its something i’ve been working hard on the past few years.

and its not cos i’m foreign.

the vast majority of kuwaits wealth is outside, the governments wealth, the sabah’s wealth, the big business families,…. its all outside.¬†all the big boys are¬†getting ready for the day that we all have to leave. even khorafi bought his own lil chunk of egypt.

i’m surprised you lot arent panicing more.

just talk to the oldest kuwaiti you can find one day, and ask them what it was like before, compare it to what its like now,…. and if theyre honest with you, they’ll say that they dont know how much longer this country will still exist.

the government doesnt want to tell you how much oil is left on the grounds of national security.

but the government isnt of the people and for the people. the government isnt parliament either. the government is the ruling family.

so theyre not telling you on the grounds of their own family’s security.

if they didnt care enough to stay and atleast warn people about the iraqis in 1990, before they scrammbled across the border,……¬†what makes you think they give a shit about your ass now?

Ex-Oil Minister Dr. Rasheed Al-Omairi, Chairman of Petro-World Entertainment Company, to launch a chain of entertainment projects through out the region aimed to present the oil industry & culture in an entertaining and educating way.

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and while everyone’s attention is diverted at the ferris wheel of sweet crude and the tunnel of synthetic by-products, we will fill the air with subliminal messages saying “$70 a barrel is good, drive more, drive more, take the long way home” over and over again!

and from there it will only be a matter of time before we finish our hyper-duper-ultra-mega-oil-a-tron ray gun satellite that will suck out all the gas in their cars so they have to buy more!!!

muahaha,…

MUAHahahaha,….

MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!

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seriously tho, doesnt that Petro-World sound like something batmans arch villian would do?

cant you just picture the kind of games and rides?

drilling for oil pockets – hit one and take home a can of engine oil.

the halliburton cafe – $10,000 for a baked potato, as per their contract with the us military.

the halliburton tunnel – drive thru a simulated iraqi village with insurgents shooting at you,…. and all you have is a bulletproof vest that wouldnt stop a mosquito.

the PWC/Agility shuttle – will take you around the compound for $25,000 for every kg you weigh.

the pre-emptive tea cups – get in a tradtional tea cup ride with a difference,…. you get a baseball bat to smack the shit out of that tea cup guy who looks like his teacup is going to invade your teacup.

ooh ooh and dont forget the Shell/BP African safari ride – dress up as a philipino labourer and go on a safari where natives will kidnap you at gunpoint and hold you for ransom till shell or bp decide to pay them off. excellent educational value if you’d like your child to¬†have a career as¬†a world class hostage negotiator, or oil company bag man, or nigerian hostage taker, or philipino hostage.

i really cant wait to see what petro-world is gonna be like ūüėõ

cos its just gonna provide too much material to make fun off.

kinda like arnie becoming president.